H. Lloyd

Fun Fact Friday presents: Harold Lloyd, a silent film comedian and impaired stuntman

H. Lloyd

Harold Lloyd (middle)

Fact:
While Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton may receive more name recognition as silent film comedians, another person that is closely associated with them is Harold Lloyd. Lloyd’s film career lasted over 30 years, from 1913 to 1947 (“Filmography”). He is best known for comedies that put his character in precarious positions, (such as Safety Last! (1923)) performing stunts that captivated audiences. Perhaps the most interesting part of his story is his experience of impairment and the solution that allowed him to continue his career. On August 24, 1919, while posing for publicity photos, he used what he thought to be a “prop bomb” in his right hand to light a cigarette, lowering it away from his face. This prop bomb was an actual bomb, and exploded, causing him to temporarily lose his vision. The blast also caused the loss of his forefinger, thumb, and part of his palm on his right hand. He eventually decided to continue his career, regaining his sight and using a prosthetic glove on his right hand to conceal any impairment (Leonard; “Part 2”). Lloyd used a number of different gloves over the years. The gloves were made to look like skin and match the color of the make-up that was worn at the time. Since the films were in black-and-white, the audience members who watched his films could not really see any difference (Memories).

 

Some thoughts:

Even as I post this fun fact concerning Harold Lloyd, I do not want this to be strictly seen as a type of “overcomer” story, focused on his own perseverance through an experience of disability. I have seen enough of those stories. Paul Longmore writes how “disability is primarily a problem of the emotional coping, of personal acceptance” when examining disability in film and television (139). These ideas surrounding disability still permeate society, perpetuated by media stories. With Lloyd, this type of framing is used by those who knew him when talking about how the issue was handled. Even with Lloyd’s characters,’ while there was no use of disability, there was a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality, with a focus on overcoming the odds.

When I think about Lloyd’s situation, I am more drawn to his effort to “pass” as a nondisabled individual with his prosthetic glove. I know it has been 70 years since his last film and that ideas about disability, inclusion, and many other issues have changed. Still, I think about the stigma attached to disability and the desire to disassociate from it at that time. At the same time, Lloyd was a privileged individual in the sense that he already had an established career. He was able to keep that rolling for almost 30 years. I have no idea how he actually felt about his impairment. It seems that it was rarely talked about, as he “’didn’t want people to feel embarrassed about it’” (“Part 2”) I don’t regard him as a hero or feel sorry for him. I find his films to be funny and his stunts to be brilliant, but I don’t admire him. I do feel it is important to think about his situation and similar ones that are more current, as disability continues to play an increasingly vital part in how society develops.

Jonathan Bartholomy, RAFF Chicago Planning Committee Member

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

 

Works Cited

“Filmography.” haroldlloyd, www.haroldlloyd.com/bio/filmography. Accessed 15 May 2017.

Leonard Maltin’s Segments: Ring Up the Curtain!: 1893 – 1919: I’m On My Way 1917 – 1919.

Perf. Leonard Maltin.  DVD. The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Bonus Disc. New

Line Home Entertainment, 2005.

Longmore, Paul K. Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability. Philadelphia:

Temple University Press, 2003.

Memories, Secrets and Gags: Ring Up the Curtain!: 1893 – 1919: Harold’s Glove. Perf. Richard

Correll and David Nowell.  DVD. The Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection Bonus Disc.

New Line Home Entertainment, 2005.

“Part 2 Susanne Llyod ‘the horrible accident’ interview with host Frankie Verroca.” Youtube,

uploaded by frankietalk, 1 October 2011, www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtHfWdlyFKg

Movie Still

Fun Fact Friday presents: Harold Russell, bilateral hand amputee and unexpected movie star

Movie Still

Harold Russel (left), Dana Andrews (middle), and Fredric March (right)

Synopsis:
William Wyler’s The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) follows three serviceman who meet while flying back to their hometown of Boone City after World War II.  Al Stephenson (Fredric March) is an older Army Sergeant who has difficulty adjusting to home life with his family and resuming his career as a banker. Air Force Captain Fred Dery (Dana Andrews) is younger, coming home to wartime marriage after a short courtship, trying to find a job, and dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Homer Parrish (Harold Russell) is a Navy Officer nervous about reconnecting with his family and girlfriend Wilma (Cathy O’Donnell) after losing his hands and having to use prosthetic hooks in their place. All three men are interconnected in their efforts to readjust to civilian life.


Fact:

Harold Russell was “discovered” by director William Wyler and playwright Robert Sherwood (who was hired to work with Wyler on concepts for the film) when they viewed the army training film Diary of a Sergeant. This film was meant to “offer encouragement to the 15,000 men who had lost hands or arms” (Gerber 77, 79). Russell was a bilateral hand amputee due to a training accident (80). The 22 minute film depicts Russell as a person who lost his hands on D-Day, eventually going from a self-pitying state to watching a film about a man using prosthetics and being inspired, learning how to use his own prosthetics and eventually reintegrating into society. The action on the screen is coupled with a narrator who tells the story (“Diary”). Russell, whose own experiences of dealing with disability and rehabilitation were similar, impressed Wyler and Sherwood and he was eventually cast in the film (Gerber 80).

Thoughts:
When I watch The Best Years of Our Lives, I try to prepare myself for it. First of all, it’s a long film, running almost three hours. I want to make sure I can watch the entire thing in a single sitting. I don’t like to start and stop a film, as it takes me out of the moment. Sometimes, it’s just hard to get back “in” to the moment and I have to move on, reserving plans for another day. Beyond the “length” factor, I also have mixed emotions about what I am watching on the screen. I enjoy seeing Harold Russell playing the role of a character with a disability. I realize that Russell was not a professional actor. He was incredibly lucky and given a chance. The disability is not “created” with the assistance of special effects. At the same time, while I connect to some of the emotions that the character Homer Parrish expresses, I have to remind myself that it is all part of a narrative that plays on the stereotypes surrounding veterans with disabilities. On the one hand, Wyler exploits to the anxiety surrounding the returning veterans with disabilities, working on both the pity and fear that the audience has for the character. On the other hand, there is also an emphasis on the ability to overcome adversity through disability (Gerber 76). These ideas still exist within society and have been perpetuated in films throughout the years in one form or another. Sometimes, the process of watching films that continue to do this is exhausting. So, why do I do it?

During my time at The University of Toledo, I took a class entitled, “American Myth and Legacy of Vietnam.” I embarked on projects that examined the portrayal of Vietnam veterans in film, first on characters with physical disabilities and then looking at characters with (PTSD). During our final weeks of class, I was presenting my work and explaining why it mattered. After it was all said and done, a classmate chimed in and made the point, “But they’re just movies…” I don’t really remember the exchange (or if there was one, because my nerves were fried from presenting). However, I do remember being surprised with those words. I understand how we can enjoy films and watch them for fun, but I have a hard time thinking about them as “just movies.” They can influence the lives of people in so many ways, impacting societal perceptions, day-to-day interactions, and more. I think this is a major reason why I keep watching, even if it means multiple viewings. I keep learning something new.

Jonathan Bartholomy, RAFF Chicago Planning Committee Member

Works Cited

Gerber, David. “’Heroes and Misfits: The Troubled Social Reintegration of Disabled Veterans in The Best Years of Our Lives.”  Disabled Veterans in History. Ed. Gerber, David.

Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000. 96-114.
“Diary of a Sargeant, 1945.” YouTube, uploaded by US National Archives, 27 May 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xp1E5smfSDI&t=7s

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

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Kartemquin partners with ReelAbilities Chicago to offer ReeLabs

Are you a Chicago-area independent filmmaker who has a disability, or who is making a film about disability or inclusion?

Kartemquin has partnered with ReelAbilities Chicago, the largest film festival in the United States dedicated to sharing the human experience of disability through art and film, to offer ReeLabs––an exclusive critique and discussion of works-in-progress by up to six eligible local filmmakers.

The intimate feedback session is open for incomplete projects at any stage of production, and will take place on Tuesday, October 3rd 2017.

SUBMISSION PROCESS:
Please complete the ReeLabs submission form for consideration into the program.

Have questions or comments? Contact Matt Lauterbach, ReelAbilities Chicago Co-Director at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

The KTQ Labs program is a free monthly service at which filmmakers present their demos and rough cuts to the Kartemquin community in return for constructive critique. The program has helped improve over 100 projects in the past decade, including some of the best Midwest-made documentaries in recent years, such as What’s the Matter with Kansas?, Louder Than A Bomb, Andrew Bird: Fever Year, Quest, and many more.

The 2017 ReelAbilities Film Festival is coming to Chicago October 4-8! Visit the festival’s official website here.

Follow ReelAbilities Chicago on Twitter.
Like ReelAbilities Chicago on Facebook.

Meet The Team

Meet The Team – Carolee Stanmar, Planning Committee Member

Meet The TeamI’m a techie and trekkie. I love technology and Star Trek (the prime universe not the JJ Abrams universe). I also love most forms of science fiction ( horror is not science fiction). As a child of the eighties, I have a fondness for watching movies like The Princess Bride, Big, and the original Ghostbusters. Thank goodness for Netflix, Hulu, and Chromecast!

As an urban hermit, I prefer watching movies at home rather than going to the movie theater. The only exception of course is when I’m watching the latest sci-fi blockbuster.

I love living in Chicago because in the Spring and Summer I can get my fill of pop culture conventions. Through the conventions, I have met a cornucopia of celebrities from Supergirl to Back To The Future and others.

When I’m not watching movies, I’m a volunteer for Illinois Spina Bifida Association.

– Carolee Stanmar, Planning Committee Member

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Fatal Attraction

Fun Fact Friday presents: Glenn Close, an offscreen star and activist

Fun Fact Friday brings you, our audience, facts and information sparking discussions related to “inclusion” as it intersects with disability, culture, and society.

Fatal Attraction

“Fatal Attraction” (1987)

Glenn Close

Glenn Close (2012)

Fact:
Glenn Close’s acting career has spanned over four decades, giving her memorable roles in films, such as Sarah Cooper in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill (1983) and Cruella De Vil in Stephen Herek’s live-action 101 Dalmatians (1996). However, the role that she may be remembered the most for is Alex Forest in Adrian Lyne’s Fatal Attraction. Forest is a woman with mental health issues who has a one-night stand with married man David Gallagher (Michael Douglas). Forest becomes obsessed with him, eventually stalking him and violently attacking him and his family. Close’s family has a history of mental health issues, and in 2010, she and her family founded Bring Change 2 Mind, “a nonprofit organization built to start the conversation about mental health, and to raise awareness, understanding, and empathy” (“Our Mission”). Regarding how films represent mental health issues, Close has subsequently said, “’I think it in many ways represents the kind of way my profession has perpetrated stigma and misunderstanding, by making people with mental illness usually dangerous or violent and scary’” (“Glenn Close”).

Jonathan Bartholomy, RAFF Chicago Planning Committee Member

Works Cited

“Glenn Close: Mental Illness Shouldn’t Be Old News.” NPR, 17 May 2012,

http://www.npr.org/2012/05/17/152914882/glenn-close- mental-illness- shouldnt-be- old-

news.

“Our Mission.” bringchange2mind, http://bringchange2mind.org/about-us/our- mission/.

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Andrew Weiler

Meet The Team – Andrew Weiler, Planning Committee Member

 

Andrew WeilerAfter graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a degree in Film and Digital Media I was accepted into Kartemquin Films’ internship program in Chicago. My transition to the midwest began in Fall 2016 and has opened up a world of opportunity for storytelling. Storytelling is at the core of community. It illuminates our commonalities and can spark collective action.

Chicago has demonstrated to me that through community action most social, political, or cultural issues can be addressed. Hence, following my internship at Kartemquin I pursued opportunities to tell stories as a means to creating empathy and progressive change. First, I independently produced a short documentary about former President of the United States Barack Obama’s farewell address titled “Liberty Farewell”. Secondly, I joined the ReelAbilities Film Festival planning committee as a marketing and social media coordinator.

Both opportunities have absorbed me into communities which have embraced me for who I am. I will continue to make documentaries and support ReelAbilities because I feel apart of something communal and which inspires me to grow personally, professionally, and creatively.

– Andrew Weiler, Planning Committee Meeting

WATCH: “Liberty Farewell” (World Premiere) Friday April 28, 2017 at 12AM CST via facebook live by following @libertyfarewell (Facebook and Twitter )

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

 

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Chicago Joins International I Can’t Keep Quiet Movement Celebrating Empowerment, Unique Identities, Engagement & Voice with Community Chorus

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The first performance was in Washington, DC at The Women’s March on January 21, 2017.  The choir rehearsed virtually and sang for unsuspecting strangers with flash mob performance of an a cappella version of the song. Since then, groups have performed various versions of the song all over the world. If you feel the need to use your voice for a cause close to your own heart, this song is for you. If you would like to sing for someone who doesn’t have a voice, this song is for you. If you just want to sing, join us.

THE CHORUS

Our chorus is comprised of people of all ages, from all walks of life, all faiths, and all backgrounds. Senior citizens, women, children, teens and men are all welcome. You do not need singing experience to join us.  If you are a professional singer, an amateur vocalist or new to singing, join us. If you can feel music, join us.

We will stand up against violence in Chicago and globally. We will sing for equality, respect, civil discourse, self-empowerment and integrity-driven conflict resolution and discourse in Illinois. We’ll sing to celebrate each other.

REHEARSALS

We will rehearse this song and a few others for one week and perform as a large group together downtown Chicago on May 13. Attend a minimum of one-two rehearsals if you cannot attend every one. The most important rehearsals to attend are May 10 and May 11.

ALL ABILITIES and ALL INCLUSIVE

For persons who are hospitalized, unable to travel or have physical limitations, we invite you to sing along with us via your iPads, mobile phones and laptops. On May 10 and May 11 we will live stream rehearsals to a closed group via Google Hang Out or Periscope. Details will be announced the first week of May.

Kindly download the Periscope App and set up Google Hang Out in preparation now. On May 13, we will also live stream the performance to ensure everyone is included and singing together at the same time.

SHARE AND INVITE FRIENDS & FAMILY TO PARTICPATE

Print the lyrics, watch the video and practice the song with friends, family, colleagues, caregivers, and senior citizens ahead of rehearsals. People are practicing now all across our city.

UPDATES

Follow the Women’s March on Chicago Facebook Page (The FB group with 45,000+ members) for ongoing updates.

ACCESSIBLITY

Both the rehearsal and performance location are wheel chair accessible. Preston Bradley Center is located two blocks east of the CTA Red Line El at Lawrence. Kindly check for handicap access and safe routes for transportation. Street parking is available in Uptown, as well.

REEHEARSAL DATES:

May 8 7-9:00p

May 9 7-9:00p

May 10 7-9:00p

May 11 7-9:00p

May 12 7-8:30p

REHEARSAL LOCATION:

Preston Bradley Center

Auditorium

941 West Lawrence Avenue

Uptown Neighborhood in Chicago

(Located at the intersection of Sheridan Road & Lawrence Avenue 2 blocks east of the El)

PERFORMANCE DATE:

Saturday, May 13

1p-3p

PERFORMANCE LOCATION

Downtown Chicago – To Be Announced

FOR ONGOING UPDATES:

Follow the Women’s March on Chicago Facebook page – the group with 45,000+ members.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1274648525889466/

QUESTIONS?

Contact producer Kimberly Soenen at kimberlyjsoenen@gmail.com

Rehearse this song in the weeks ahead. Here we go. Together Together.

SONG LYRICS:

https://www.icantkeepquiet.org/thesong/

SONG VERSION WE WILL PERFORM:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cc_neVdjb4&feature=youtu.be

Justin Cooper

Meet The Team – Justin Cooper, Planning Committee Member

Justin CooperI am a black artist, filmmaker, and disability advocate. Five years ago, the lack of representation of people with disabilities in media motivated me to work on my own documentary film called The Wheelchair Chronicles. Through that journey, I’ve met so many artists and filmmakers with disabilities who felt the same way I did about the lack of representation and were telling their own stories, and were coming up with their own ideas on what a film should be like.

That five-year journey shaped me as the person that I am today and has shaped the way I see visual media. It’s important for people with disabilities to share their stories through visual media with the world because often times our voices aren’t heard. Whether we’re in front of the camera or behind the scenes, our voices demand to heard.

I am pleased to be working with the ReelAbilities Film Festival and I am thrilled to be working with such talented men and women during the planning process.

– Justin Cooper, Planning Committee Member

Justin Cooper earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and Media Studies from DePaul University in 2013. Justin is currently a member of Access Living (a change agent committed to fostering an inclusive society that enables Chicagoans with disabilities to live fully-engaged and self-directed lives), a member of Access Living’s Young Professionals Council, and is a member of 3Arts (an organization that supports artists of color, women artists, and artists with disabilities).

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Redmond (left) and Chaplin (right) on the set of A Dog's Left (1918)

Fun Fact Friday presents: Granville Redmond, one of film’s earliest deaf actors

Fun Fact Friday brings you, our audience, facts and information sparking discussions related to “inclusion” as it intersects with disability, culture, and society.

Redmond (left) and Chaplin (right) on the set of A Dog's Left (1918)

Redmond (left) and Chaplin (right) on the set of A Dog’s Life (1918)

This Week’s Fact:

While Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin may serve as one of the most well-known actors who is deaf (known for her role as Sarah Norman in Randa Haines’ Children of a Lesser God (1986) and more recently as the recurring character Melody Bledsoe in the TV series Switched at Birth, (2011-2017)) deaf actors participated in the film industry at least a century beforehand, albeit not in starring roles.  One of those individuals was Granville Redmond, who was a landscape artist and “became a permanent fixture in San Francisco art circles” (Schuchman 23). His “’art of mimicry’” in a film caught the attention of silent film star Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin invited Redmond to Hollywood, assuring him that it was not necessary to speak. Redmond first appeared in A Dog’s Life, (1918) and was in other Chaplin films as well, including The Kid (1921) and City Lights (1931) (23-25). Chaplin even “gave Redmond space to paint at the Chaplin production facilities, where Redmond produced some works for films, others for himself, and some that Chaplin purchased” (24).

Jonathan Bartholomy, RAFF Chicago Planning Committee Member

Works Cited

Schuchman, John S. Hollywood Speaks: Deafness and the Film Entertainment Industry. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988.

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org

Charlie Kassler

Meet The Team – Charlie Kessler, Planning Committee Member

Charlie Kassler

 

Charlie Kessler works as a freelance production assistant and editor in Chicago. Charlie was introduced to RAFF Chicago Co-Director Matt Lauterbach during an internship at Kartemquin Films. Matt encouraged Charlie to join the planning committee after they discovered a common interest in media accessibility.

Having an older brother with autism and two aunts with visual impairments has placed accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of Charlie and his family’s lives. Witnessing firsthand the difficulty to ensure proper assistance and social services for his brother drives Charlie to advocate and take action to support him.

Charlie has also witnessed his aunts graduate college while navigating employment, transportation, and forefronting the design of accessible tools. His aunts have inspired Charlie to challenge status quos and to see possibility in anything you set your mind to.

By collaborating with ReelAbilities, Charlie hopes to make a positive impact on the disability community by combining his passions for film and creating inclusive opportunities.

 

RAFF Chicago runs from October 4-8, 2017. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook!!!

If you would like to get involved with RAFF Chicago please contact us at (773) 203-5039 or email Matt Lauterbach at matt@reelabilitieschicago.org